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The role of the manager

With the exception of BYO restaurants, every on, off and club licensed premises must appoint a manager who holds a manager’s certificate.

The manager must be on duty when alcohol is sold. There are exceptions to this for BYO licenses, club licences, remote sellers, and off-licence cellar door sales(s.215) where there is no licence condition to require it.

The manager’s name must be prominently displayed inside the premises at all times while on duty.

The manager is responsible for the compliance with the conditions of the licence and provisions of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, which include ensuring the safe and responsible sale and supply of alcohol and minimising alcohol-related harm.

The licensee must advise the DLC and police within two working days of the appointment, cancellation or termination of a manager, temporary manager or acting manager. It is not necessary to notify those agencies if the appointment does not exceed 48 hours, but all such appointments must be recorded in a day book, or log book, along with the reason for the appointment.

More detailed guidance on the role of the manager is found in The Manager’s Guide resource book.

A copy of the book can also be ordered online.

The Licence Controller Qualification

Applicants for a Manager’s Certificate must hold the nationally recognised Licence Controller Qualification (LCQ).( S.218, R23.) The LQC has been developed to standardise and improve the overall quality and skills of managers working in licensed premises and is made up of two unit standards requiring:

  • demonstrated knowledge of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and implications for the operation of licensed premises (Unit 4646)
  • demonstrate knowledge of Host Responsibility requirements as a manager of licensed premises (Unit 16705).

For more information about the LCQ, contact ServiceIQ (the industry training organisation for the hospitality sector) on 0800 863 693 or go to

Manager’s Certificate applications

A Manager’s Certificate application must be submitted to the local DLC. There is a standard application form that requests details of any relevant experience and training as well as other necessary information. It is important to complete the application form fully and include evidence of any training and experience. It is also helpful to provide a character reference. A person must be 20 years or older to be appointed as a manager of licensed premises.(S.216(1))

Before issuing a Manager’s Certificate the DLC will consider:

  • the applicant’s suitability (s.222(a))
  • any convictions (s.222(b))
  • experience, particularly recent experience, in controlling licensed premises
  • training, particularly recent training, that the applicant has undertaken
  • evidence of the prescribed qualification (s.222(d))
  • issues raised by the reports from the Inspector and the Police. 

Manager’s Certificate renewals

The process for renewal of a Manager’s Certificate is similar to the application process. A Manager’s Certificate is initially issued for 12 months and then is usually renewed every three years. It is the responsibility of the holder of a Manager’s Certificate to ensure that a renewal application is lodged in time.

Acting and temporary managers

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 allows an uncertified person to be appointed as an acting or temporary manager if a holder of a Manager’s Certificate is not available. An acting or temporary manager is considered to have the responsibilities of the holder of a Manager’s Certificate and can be prosecuted for breaches of the Act just as the holder of a Manager’s Certificate can.

An acting manager can be appointed to cover for short term absences where the manager is ill, absent, or on holiday. The acting manager may only be appointed for up to three weeks at any one time and up to six weeks in any 12-month period.

A temporary manager can be appointed where a manager is ill or absent for any reason or is dismissed or resigns. The person appointed must apply for a Manager’s Certificate within two working days.  The person may then continue as a temporary manager until the application for a Manager’s Certificate is determined.